Show the lands of opportunity and socialism that Castro wasn't the only bad boy in the Caribbean!
Seeing as how I have never experienced the glory of the first two Tropicos (both of which only released on the PC) I did not know what to expect in playing this demo. And while the first two entries were mildly successful and receive a cult-following, both games were developed by different publishers... and this game is no different! So I figured at that point that this would be one of the most unbias previews I've ever written.
Streamlined Controls / Interface
Thinking about how Tropico 3, and the previous entries, originally relied solely on a mouse and keyboard to micromanage your own personal paradise, it surprises me that Kalypso was able to translate the controls fairly well onto a gamepad. The interface is clean and easy-to-use, the radial menu for edicts and construction are easy to navigate through, the D-pad provides for the micromanagement of buildings, and the right trigger provides the fast-track to all of the powers at El Presidente's disposal.
It's odd to think about deriving fun from pleasing insignificant virtual people, but the idea of myself actually running a successful island economy and keeping discontent rebels from eliminating me holds something special that no other game on the 360 has yet to make me feel. Keeping up with current events of the 1950s and the Cold War climate helps string players along and provide possible consequences to actions and lead to exhilarating events (ever experience a US trade company exec killing himself after a sudden bankruptcy, leaving the US to discover his and your illegal dealings?).
Quirky Humour / Atmosphere
From the radio DJ to the off-beat scenarios presented in the campaign, Tropico 3 isn't short of quirky (and sometimes morbid) humour. The game obviously never takes itself seriously, I mean... look at the front cover, so all-in-all it is simply fun to take in all that the game has to offer with its satirical perspective on the Cold War in the tropics.
Just... Don't Zoom In
While the game can look decent from afar, the 360 was clearly not Kalypso's lead platform. As you zoom in, you'll notice quickly that the textures become blurrier and the inhabitants of Tropico become reduced to rigid, square-fisted PLAYMOBIL people. It's not as bad as I'm making it out to be... but it won't be going up against Halo Wars or anything for "Best Looking Strategy Game".
The difficulty of pleasing your subjects can be quite stressful. Most often, whatever mildly pleases the church (religion) outrages the educated (intellectuals), a successful church does nothing without a $20,000 cathedral and a papal visit, an army base never seems to satisfy the complaints of poor troop bunking, and never can I appease the United States with a supportive capitalist stance and wealthy economy. Though the game doesn't demand that you keep everyone in Tropico happy, it is best pursue that goal to reap the most out of your experience.
The demo is a meaty playthrough of the elements provided in Tropico 3. Though some construction elements, edicts, and features are obviously missing, the game provides a wonderful experience for any 360 owners looking for a SimCity, socio-economic strategy game with. Coming out of nowhere on my game-dar, this is definitely going to have a place in my game collection come February.